From The Horse’s Mouth | Wummi Unravels Shere Hills

Wummi slid into our comments section on our instagram page about the view from the top of Shere Hill. I hated her a little bit because I’ve whined constantly about how the usual rite of passage in my secondary school was exploring Shere Hills. My year however couldn’t do it because unfortunately there were tensions in Jos when it was our turn.

Despite my fake hate, I knew I just had to talk to her about her trip.

She is an engineer at day and a designer at night but describes herself as a random girl that like travelling and adventure.

Give us a brief description of where you went and what the trip was about.

Let’s just say I actually took a mini vacay to see Jos and other neighboring places within the state. Shere hills were one of the places I visited. Other places included Assop waterfalls, Rayfield resort, Jos National Museum, Jos wildlife park, Miango Rest home, Kerrang volcanoes and Swan natural spring, and the famous Terminus market.

Assop Waterfalls


Since this is about Shere hills, let me give a brief description. Popularly called Shere Hills, the site is actually a range of rolling hills and heaps of massive boulders practically surrounding the city of Jos. It can be seen from most places in Jos if the clouds are clear enough.

The most distinctive portion is easily accessible from behind a certain ‘Military’ Mountain School about 10km east of the city of Jos. The hills serve as a perfect training ground for the school. Being a range of hills means there are various hills of varying sizes and difficulties so you can choose your size and climb it, not necessarily the highest peak of the range. I picked a small one (or so I thought until I got close to it). I went hiking with 2 of my friends; hiking is never fun alone and it took us about 30 mins to get to the top of the one we chose.

There are 2 identical hills at the range popularly called Gog and Magog (actually the highest peak known is about 1829m) but my strength failed me after hiking so I couldn’t get there.

View from the top


Was accommodation required for this trip? If yes where did you stay and what was it like?

Like I said it was a mini vacay so I stayed about a week in Jos in De- Eden hotel. I’ll rate it about 3 stars because I was on a budget. It is located in a serene and safe environment on Lamingo Road. I liked it because it has lots of greens and nice flowers in the surrounding which makes for good views. It’s a small hotel so it’s not busy and bustling which I kinda liked too. Their rooms range from about N4000 – N7000 per night. It is not in the heart of town but transportation is very cheap in Jos since it’s mainly by Keke Napep.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?

I noticed that most (if not all) Keke Napeps in Jos actually have doors at the front and back seats. I was so surprised because I was seeing that for the first time. My friend/tour guide said it’s a measure of additional security since Keke is a very common mode of transportation there.

Doors on both sides


What was your best moment of the entire trip?

Getting to the top of Shere Hills has to take that. It was my first time hiking and I didn’t even expect I’d make it that far, but here I am feeling ready to take Kilimanjaro.

Mama I made it to the top


I also got to ride a horse for the first time at the wildlife park.

Horse Riding


What was the scariest moment (if any)?

There was a very steep slope while going up the hill that got me so scared; in fact, I was sure I would roll back down but eventually I made it up. My man o’war in training friend said the secret to overcoming such slopes is to keep moving and never stop, and the trick worked.

Don’t stop moving


Did you find any sights or activities a bit off the beaten track i.e beyond the tourist traps?

Miango Rest Home is a quiet resort about 25km from the heart of Jos that many people do not know about but my tour guide insisted I spent at least one night there. Though the accommodation is quite basic built in form of chalets, the environment is so natural, lush and green. It would make a perfect honeymoon or retreat location. It also has recreational facilities, mini-golf and soccer.

Miango Rest Home


They also do not offer room services so they have meal times when everyone comes to the dining hall to eat. You’ll usually find lots of white people there so they serve both local and exotic continental dishes. The icing on the cake is that the rates are as cheap as N7000/day (this covers accommodation for a night and 3 meals). I was told it’s that cheap because it was built by the white people that brought ECWA to Jos and it is usually used by churches for small group retreats (they have cheaper rates for this), honeymoons and family vacations.

They usually require/prefer people to book in advance (as against just walking in to book a room like in normal hotels). I personally had some difficulty getting a room there as I just walked in and requested a room (I came in flanked by my 2 male friends so you can understand how that looked).

What are two interesting things about where you went that the average person doesn’t know?

The average person thinks Shere Hills is just one Hill but it’s actually a massive range of many rolling hills and large boulders.

Did you meet any locals? If yes, what were they like?

The locals were very warm and friendly. That explains why people list Jos as a good vacation spot in Nigeria.

What was the funniest/strangest/most insightful thing a local said?

None that I remember now

What was the hardest or most frustrating part of the trip?

The road trip to Lokoja – On my way back I decided to have a stopover at Lokoja but I missed the direct bus from Jos. I should have just taken a bus back to Abuja but the park people advised me to join a bus going to Minna and drop at Dikko where they assured me I’ll get Lokoja bus.

I got to Dikko and the story was different. I had to take another bus to Zuba before I got the Lokoja bus. I ended up spending the whole day for a trip of about 6 hrs and I regretted not getting to the park early enough to catch the straight bus.

Lesson; never take advice from people at the park seriously except confirmed first-hand from travellers.

Did anything go wrong that seems funny now?

I had an “interview” session at Miango Rest Home because I came without an advance booking. I also came in this ‘gangsta’ kind of dressing flanked by 2 guys to a resort run by ‘Church People’. I’m sure you know the drill. My friends laughed me to scorn when I was eventually given a room and it’s still funny whenever I remember it.

Did you eat anything locally, if yes, what was your favorite?

I tried some local stuff. My favorite would be masa; some puffy balls made from corn with this special stew. You’ll find many women selling it by the roadside. Luckily for me, a seller was right in front of my hotel so I had my fill of it for breakfast one morning. I also loved the smoked fish and chicken from West of Mines (Headquarters of all smoked and barbecued things in Jos).

Smoked Chicken from West of Mines


Eating Massa


If you ate locally, what was the strangest thing you ate?

Strangest thing would have to be ‘gote’ which is one of their local soups made from groundnut and other things. My tour guide had hyped it so much and my expectations were high. when I eventually ate it, I was confused at the taste. It looks like what I know as white soup but the taste was quite bland so I didn’t have so much of it. My friend’s excuse was that maybe it wasn’t properly prepared.

Rayfield


What were the cost implications of this trip?

I spent about N110,000 on my week-long budget mini vacay, but I’ll try to give a breakdown and include options based on individual preferences.

Accommodation

Most of my budget was spent here. (5k per night for about 8 nights made 40k). This could be reduced if you have a travel buddy.

Transportation

I took a flight to Kaduna from Port Harcourt (18,500).

Road trip from Kaduna to Jos (which was about 3hrs) – N2000

Road trip back to Port Harcourt – N8000.

I also spent about N500/day (covering me and my tour guide) on jumping keke. It’s usually N50 or N100 for very long distances. I had to fuel a friend’s car whenever I was going somewhere outside town like Assop waterfalls and Miango Rest Home.

Note – Arik Air flies to Jos from Lagos for about N26,000 – N39,000 (the only direct flight to Jos is from Lagos).

God is Good motors from Lagos to Jos is N7,450 (though the bus isn’t so advisable considering the really long distance). I actually had to break my road trip back to Port Harcourt.

Another option could be a flight to Abuja then a road trip to Jos which is a little over 4hrs, actually longer than coming through Kaduna which I did.

Feeding

This cost me an average of N2000/day since I don’t eat much.

Miscellaneous

There were miscellaneous expenses for buying souvenirs, entry fees to tourist sites (which were usually between N50 – N200) et.c.

Now that you’ve been there yourself, when you think of your trip what’s the first image that comes to your head?

That would be me and my crew at the top of the hill. That portion of the hill actually made a quaky sound when we arrived at the top and my friend said the hill was feeling our arrival.

Crew Love


Would you revisit or ever move there?

YES because Jos is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of our busy life but I don’t think I can fully move there. I’ll miss the plenty activities of the mega city; except maybe for retirement sha.

We hope you enjoyed Wummi’s detailed account about her trip to Shere Hills. Have you visited or could this be your next hiking trail? Let us know in the comment section.

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*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person

*prices written are based on the time the visit was made and is subject to change by the owners.

*pictures are provided by the ‘horse’ interviewed. 

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